How to get the most out of a site inspection.
Site inspections are one of the many things event planners do weekly but if you've never done one or haven't done one for a while (cue pandemic) and want to brush up on how to do a kick-ass site inspection where you leave a lasting impression on the hotel or venue (in a positive way!) then here are my top 5 tips.
1. Do Your Homework 🤓
Yes - you don't know the venue which is why you are doing a site inspection but there is a lot you can do in advance to make sure you get the most out of your experience. Visit the website to find out more about it from the different event spaces and potential non-event spaces they might have like 'gardens' to bars, restaurants and 'remote working spaces' for example so that when you see those spots during the site, you can ask relevant questions and find out more. It's also a great way to see what the venue's unique selling features are such as special views, a Michelin-starred Chef, an epic Spa or it's own auditorium for example so be sure to note these down to find out how they might be able to be integrated into what you're planning - you never know! Check out who the General Manager is if it's a hotel and if you spot them on the site, you can say 'oh there's the GM - great to see him/her doing the rounds' - that's unexpected and you'll certainly be remembered for it. They know their team but they don't ever expect you to so this is a great little card to pull out.
2. Build The Hype 🥰
We live in a time where we can use social media as a tool. Make sure to check if the venue/hotel has an online presence on social media such as an Instagram or Twitter account. Be sure to check if the person who is showing you around is on LinkedIn so you can connect with them. It's a great way to 'raise awareness' of your impending arrival to the venue not just to them but also to your clients/potential clients online. This is social proof of your activities as an event planner and a great way to showcase your expertise and experiences. If clients see that you are in the know, they'll trust you to know when they need your insights and help so document, document, document and share! Tag the venue and contacts in relevant posts because social sharing is caring and also great visibility for them and your brand/business.
3. Come prepared 💪🏽
Sounds like common sense but we don't always come prepared. If you're looking at a venue for a specific event then come with the details like the brief. If the venue contact is well-prepared, they'll have a copy and be walking you through the space with it. But in my experience, this isn't always the case because they might not have it or you might end up doing the site with someone who isn't managing your event or even in the events department (shit happens) so at least you will be able to refer to your brief and make notes where needed. In some cases, you might want to bring your event partners with you like a member of the AV team or production crew, your florist if you're 'bedazzling' the venue or the key team members who will find the site inspection useful and relevant both for their own knowledge as well as for the specific event they're working on.
4. Reconfirm Before and Thank After 🤗
Things can always come up so always be sure to reconfirm with the venue on the day or the day before and be sure to ask if there's anything specific you need to do (re: parking for example), say (who to ask for at reception for example) and bring (maybe something related to the event for example). This gives the contact person a 'gentle reminder' that you are ready and coming for the site. They might need to give special instructions to their 'front office' that they may have forgotten or arrange something so this gives them some heads up and you get the additional info you might need. And a very important rule - always thank them after the site inspection. Not at the venue itself when it's over (which you will do any way) but by email that day or the day after. It's just the polite and right thing to do and in a way, it closes the 'circle' on that experience. Perhaps even throw in what your favourite part of the site was because I can guarantee they will love to know this. Make sure to thank them via your social media too be it in an Instagram story or LinkedIn post. You could even make a carousel (album) post on your feed of some relevant and useful images from your site! Everything is content - remember this and use it!
5. Don't Just Talk Shop 👩🏽💻
One of the goals of a site inspection is to learn all about the venue or hotel for the event you are planning specifically or for your general venue knowledge and information for any potential events you might plan in the future. Another very important goal is to build a good relationship with the 'supplier', the contact person at the hotel or venue. In many cases this would be the sales or/and event contact at the hotel. This is a great time to get to know them and for them to get to know you because having a connection matters. It will make a difference and it will count when either of you might need each others' support with something at some point in the future so don't just spend the time, invest the time and make the effort. I've made some wonderful friends in the industry over the years and also suppliers will move around within the industry and you never know where they pop up so maintaining those relationships are always so important.
If you follow these five tips, I can guarantee you will get the best out of your site inspections and they won't just be 'visits' but the start of great relationships for you in the industry. We are a people industry and site inspections are a great 'enabler' to the building of these relationships as well as our venue knowledge.
If you enjoyed this blog and are looking to connect with a fellow event professional who is passionate about social media and content, then check me out on Instagram to follow me and join my online community and let's get social! xoxo @hothospitalitye